Thursday, February 18, 2010

God even knew

This '99 Camry was in for some service today. I see it off and on. High mileage car, 240K at the moment. While taking care of a few items I noticed she must have went somewhere else for a LOF (lube, oil, filter) since it had writing on the filter. This is common at shops so they know if they were the last to service the car.
This filter had a omen written on it though....
Even though it is not a drive-by-wire car, the tech who changed the oil new something bad must be coming for Toyota's everywhere.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


We will see how long it is before we are blamed for this. It isn't our Mailbox but for some reason the local postal workers think it is. So we often have our mail in this box. It is owned by a neighbor of ours who will remain anonymous. If you know the businesses near us seeing the picture should clue you in to who it is.

Why is the sign up? This will be the third mailbox installed this winter. It seems our local plow trucks have a heavy foot coming down our street. It is posted 25mph but rarely do we see anything going at or below the limit. Even the local PD has a tendency to drive a little fast on this stretch of road. The mailbox isn't getting hit by the plow but with the speed and force of the snow coming off the blade they are getting knocked off.

Maybe, just maybe, this will slow things up a tad.

I am also sure we will get blamed for it. Should be fun the mess with their minds.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Red Barron has landed

We picked a fine day to go pick up the 1990 BMW 325i that was snagged for the low,low price of $400. Getting into Madison was fine. The roads this morning were snow covered but easily passable with the TrailBlazer. Once to the owners house we became slightly concerned about the height of the driveway but after all the paper work was finished up and the keys went into my greasy fingers all was forgotten about the crappy roads.

Dan took off ahead of me and I powered out of the driveway realizing I had broken every possible rule I have for buying a car and pre-purchase inspections. The same rules I constantly pound into our customers heads. Why did I break the rules you ask? I didn't really care how things would turn out, this was a done deal before I knew the color of the car. I didn't even tell Troy he was buying a car until I called him and explained he needed to bring me money cause I found the right car finally. Heck, I didn't even check the fluid levels before we left. I took the young lady's word for it since she told me she topped them all off for me, hey, it even had a full tank of gas! The tires looked full, it started perfect and settled into a nice idle with no noises or knocks except a blaring muffler that was hollowed out and ready to fall off.

Back to the drive home. We discussed going in that the drive home would be worse since the traffic that morning was going into Madison, not out to Mazo so the West bound lane of Hwy 14 would be slick. Through Middleton the roads where fine so I passed Dan and once to Hwy.14 I opened the Red Barron up and legged it out to 60mph on a partially snow covered road. The car handled perfect. A little vibration as I hit 55mph from the tires sitting as long as they did, I am sure they where flat spotted slightly. After a mile I backed off to 45mph and settled in for the drive home. Amazingly all the gauges on the dash worked. I couldn't believe it. The heater as well, I thought for sure I'd have some nightmarish head gasket issue or something. As we neared Cross Plains I was confident it would make it home. The oil light never flickered as I coasted into town so I was feeling pretty good about myself.

By the time I hit Mazo I was realizing that this car could never become a LeMon's car. It is too nice, it handled pretty good for 200,000 miles on the mill and the only glaring fault is Third Gear is fubared in the transmission. Not a major issue at all.

Finally racked in the shop (after whipping a few donuts in the snow covered lot) we figured this was the moment of disapointment. I was sure it would be rusted to snot, body damage everywhere or massive unibody issues putting it as a parts car only. Nope, out of the entire underside was have a little spot of rust on a driver side fender lip. Amazing.

Oil leaks, oh ya, lots of oil leaks from years of service but once the engine is cleaned off I will find out the level of those leaks and how important it will be to fix them. The hood doesn't close properly, looks like the latch has a easily repaired issue. It had new front fenders and a hood put on in the past but from the looks of the front end no serious body damage. The bumpers and some lights are cracked along with part of the grill being on with tape but all in all, a awesome little car.

So for some reason the Automotive Gods have shined down upon us this day and we now have a pair of 3-Series BMW's in the race stable for Willie's. Troy and I can now enjoy track days without having to share the 320i.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

This Toyota Mess

I'm not going to dive into it with my opinion on what Toyota did or didn't do, should or should not do. It is getting beat to death in the Media and can be read almost anywhere.

What I am going to say though is this. Beware what you wish for. Right now the NHSTA, the Feds, the Media are dissecting this issue from every angle. It reminds me of a few decades ago when Ford and Firestone had their little issue with Tires.

Both situations are playing out in much the same manner. In the coming weeks you will see the Feds demand Congresional hearings. You will see Media "experts" continue to discuss the issue ( at least until the next natural disaster or pretty girl goes missing) to death.

What will happen is more Nanny State. The Feds will come up with something, much like the Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems now Federally mandated on all cars. I can't put my finger exactly on what they could do.....yet. But I'm sure it will happen.

What will it do in the end? Make every car more expensive, more complicated and cost the consumer more to buy and repair.

Monday, February 01, 2010

What the Hell

Sometimes Craigslist can get a guy in trouble.

We scored a 1990 BMW 325i for little to nothing off Craigslist last week. I'll be picking the car up once the title is cleared for me. M20B25 6cyl engine, manual trans, pretty much rust free. We aren't sure what we are going to do with it yet either. 24 Hours of LeMon's is likely but it is in really great shape. Autocross is very likely. Maybe build it into a ITS car in the future. Daily Driver will most likely happen. Possibly even pull the engine and trans and put them in the 320i.

Regardless. I think (read hope) we scored big.